September 8, 2015 Heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America, and both snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea can be early indicators of cardiovascular trouble. Snoring can indicate damage to the arteries that supply oxygenrich blood to the brain, and snoring is a bigger risk factor for stroke and heart attack than smoking, being overweight or high cholesterol. Snoring typically precedes a pause in breathing, a classic Obstructive Sleep Apnea symptom, signaling a weak, thickened or closed airway. These pauses in breathing, occurring throughout the night, cause a rise in heart rate and blood pressure as the heart works harder and signals the need for more oxygen. Most people experience lowered blood pressure at night, while sleeping, decreasing heart rate and giving the heart a break. People with sleep disorders or who are sleep-deprived, however, maintain an elevated heart rate. For those patients with already high blood pressure and Obstructive Sleep Apnea, this cycle makes lowering blood pressure even more difficult. The resulting stress on the heart can lead to even more serious cardiovascular issues and medical challenges, like stroke and diabetes. For patients with Coronary Artery Disease, whose arteries are already smaller with constricted blood flow, the risks for damage from Obstructive Sleep Apnea are even greater. Obstructive sleep apnea can lead to cardiac death One in five adults suffers from at least mild sleep apnea, and OSA puts you at 25 percent higher risk for heart attack. According to the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the presence and severity of sleep apnea are associated with increased risk of sudden cardiac death. Sudden cardiac death kills more than 400,000 Americans a year when the heart unexpectedly stops beating because of problems with the heart’s electrical system. Sleep apnea is related to the heart rhythm problems that cause sudden cardiac death. Similarly, the European Heart Journal reports that “short sleepers” (those who get fewer than six hours of sleep per night), had a 48 percent increased risk of developing or dying from coronary artery disease and a 15 percent greater risk of developing or dying from stroke. While researchers say lack of sleep doesn’t necessarily cause heart disease, they do know that it increases the risk factors for heart disease. Reduce your risk for heart disease by controlling OSA Improving your sleep health goes a long way toward improving your overall health. If you snore or have cardiovascular issues, our trained sleep disorder dentists at Caffaratti Dental Group can help determine if you are also suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sleep Disordered Breathing or sleep disorders. Our take-home sleep test, worn comfortably in your natural environment, will give us a thorough understanding of your typical sleep patterns and sleep health – and allow us to determine the best treatment method for you. A viable alternative to a CPAP machine or surgery for many Obstructive Sleep Apnea patients, our oral appliance therapy remodels the upper airway and permanently move the lower jaw forward into a more natural position, increasing the size of the airway and dramatically improving your ability to breathe. We will work with you and your general physician to determine if oral appliance therapy can improve your sleep health – and your heart health. Start your journey to better sleep by taking this short quiz to see if you may be suffering from OSA. Then, schedule your FREE consultation with our team by calling 775-358-1555.